The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make it difficult for families to visit loved ones and friends who are patients or residents of hospitals, assisted living or nursing home facilities. Health measures designed to control the spread of the virus among the most vulnerable populations limit interaction with elderly members of our communities. Families that once gathered in person still find themselves waving through windows or chatting on video calls. Outside of those interactions, long-term care residents are increasingly isolated, and many facilities in rural areas lack the equipment necessary to make virtual connection a reliable alternative.
In Spring 2020, Nebraska Community Foundation announced the Connecting Elders with Family funding opportunity, a collaboration between the Alice DeVoe Donor-Advised Fund – an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation – and another anonymous donor. The opportunity provides matching grants to NCF affiliated funds to connect and engage elders with family and friends, including electronic devices and complementary equipment. Funding is also available for other projects and programs that address COVID-19-related social isolation, which can be damaging to individuals socially, emotionally, and physically. Applications should emphasize the ways richer connections among elders will be fostered during this unprecedented time.
We’ve extended and expanded the Connecting Elders with Family funding opportunity into 2021 with the hope that even more communities might be able to take advantage of the program, available exclusively to NCF affiliated funds. Additionally, we’ve increased the match to $10,000, meaning funds can potentially make a $20,000 impact in their communities.
Many affiliated funds took advantage of the opportunity in 2020, enabling families in their communities to stay connected. The grants allowed many funds to purchase tablets, cameras, wireless internet, and other upgrades, like Valley County Health System Foundation’s purchase of a laptop for fitness programs among older generations. Some funds, like the Keith County Foundation Fund, used the money to provide additional support for meals at senior centers or for deliveries to elderly residents. The scope of the funding opportunity allows funds to pinpoint localized, creative avenues to reduce the impact of COVID-19-related isolation.
For many communities, the funding opportunity’s impact will go beyond long-term care facilities.
“Although this project’s goal was to help our older population, I think it has helped all of us,” said Hebron Community Foundation Fund’s Rita Luongo. “Those of us with family members in the nursing homes or the hospital struggle with a lot of emotions relating to our loved ones. We feel guilty for not being there and worry about if they are alright. This project gives us peace of mind because we can see them and talk to them through technology. The benefits from the program go far beyond the residents we were initially trying to help.”
Grants from affiliated funds will be given to organizations who serve our elders’ and must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit or owned and operated by a local government political subdivision, like a municipality or county.
Other parameters include:
- Grants of up to $10,000 be offered per affiliated fund
- Grants are to be matched 1:1 with other philanthropic resources (cash only; previous grants or investments do not count as match)
- Only NCF affiliated funds are eligible to apply
- Applications due by June 30, 2021
For more information contact:
Kristine Gale, Community Impact Coordinator
Nebraska Community Foundation